ESM can now complete the sale of Heman St. School to Lakewood Development LLC. Lakewood was notified Sept. 21 that its project application was approved by the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal. The school will be converted to affordable senior housing.
“The successful approval and ultimate completion of this project is a win-win for ESM and the community. Our taxpayers benefit from the cost savings by no longer having to maintain the building, the community is getting some much needed senior housing and the renovated building will also be put back on the tax rolls to generate revenue in the future,” said ESM Superintendent Dr. Donna DeSiato.
The closing on the sale is expected in December. The purchase was contingent on Lakewood’s successful application for various federal, state and local funding, tax credits and low interest loans, primarily through the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal.
Susan Kimmel, President of Lakewood Development LLC of East Syracuse, estimates the project will cost $6 million and will result in 37 affordable senior housing units—33 one-bedroom and four two-bedroom apartments in the 48,000 square foot school.
“This is a great reuse of a building that is already a centerpiece of the community,” said Ms. Kimmel. The building will be renamed Heman St. School Apartments and the project will preserve as much of the original architecture as possible. Rents are expected to be well below market.
“I couldn’t have dreamed of a better use for this property. Given that East Syracuse has one of the lowest median incomes in Onondaga County and our senior population is rising, this fills a huge void to provide a great housing option for them,” said Village of East Syracuse Mayor Danny Liedka.
“It is great to see so many people working cooperatively for the betterment of our community. A lot of people spent a great deal of time and effort to bring this project to fruition,” Mayor Liedka added.
ESM can use the proceeds from the building sale for debt service, the capital reserve fund and/or future expenses that would otherwise come from the general fund.
Lakewood Development LLC, the development arm of Two Plus Four Construction, has already completed four school conversions of this type. The company is partnering on this project with the not-for-profit Southern Hills Preservation Corporation, which helps with affordable housing projects in Onondaga County. The two organizations have formed Heman St. Partners LLP.
Lakewood’s construction arm and management company have successfully built and managed affordable housing for families and elderly residents since 1977. Locally, the companies built and manage Colonial Village in East Syracuse and Eastview Gardens in Minoa.